It's a consistent line from the left: Conservative talk radio is a cauldron of hate. In the Clinton years, a CBS News promo set out to warn the public about the dangers of Gordon Liddy: "The words are shocking ... What he says may not be illegal, but is it dangerous? Has free speech gone too far? Hate radio under fire, and firing back."
It is an unmistakable, unquestionable, resoundingly unequivocal exercise in liberal hypocrisy. The airwaves are now filled with the meanest, most insulting, most dishonest ad hominems in history. They are coming from left-wing talk show hosts.
And from CBS & Co.? Dead silence.
Take Ed Schultz, the closest thing the liberals have to a talk-radio star. He comes unglued when he talks of Rush. On July 15, he uncorked this rant: "Apparently, the drug-ridden loser Rush Limbaugh, he thinks because he's got a lot of money and a lot of stations that he's a success in life, the guy that can't hear because he did so many drugs and had no self-discipline and character has now taken his first shot at me on 'The Ed Show' on MSNBC. I love it!"
Schultz then challenged Limbaugh to a debate: "C'mon, you fat pig. Let's get it on. I'm getting ratings without you. Hell, I'm doing you a favor. C'mon, Rush! Let's get it on! Get out of your compound down there. Get away from your drugs. Go see the doctor, and get some hearing. Maybe you could pick up a 19th girlfriend. Maybe you could try marriage again. By the way, Rush, you got any kids? Oh, you're out of the mainstream!"
This is some strange taunting, since Schultz is well, heavy set, and in his second marriage. He does have six children -- and about six listeners.
Then there's Ron Reagan, the liberal talk show host and the youngest child of the last century's greatest president. He may have been a ballet dancer in his youth, but on May 15, he taunted Limbaugh as less than a full man after he heard Rush making fun of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's Botox shots: "Limbaugh hasn't had a natural erection since the Nixon Administration; think he's compensating for something? Now, I wouldn't pick on him for any of this stuff, not his blubbiness, not his man-boobs, not his inability to have a natural erection -- none of that stuff -- to me, off limits until! Until! -- Mr. Limbaugh, you turn that sort of gun on somebody else. Once you start doing that, you're fair game, fat boy. Absolutely, you jiggly pile of mess."The junior Reagan also claimed Limbaugh looked like "the unholy spawn of Tony Soprano and the Michelin Man." Surely, he made his father proud.
It gets uglier still. If we really scrape the bottom of the barrel of liberal talk radio, there's Mike Malloy, who used to write news scripts for CNN. On Jan. 23, he called Rush the "pig man" and announced, "I hope that I'm alive when he dies. He is so morbidly overweight. He smokes. He eats his Viagra and goes down to the Dominican Republic to bugger little boys. I just hope that I'm around when he croaks."
He repeated that ugly mantra five days later: "Some horrifyingly intense America-hater like Rush Limbaugh, who appears to be morphing into, seriously, he is morphing into Jabba the Hutt. I've seen some recent video, this guy is enormous. He just keeps bloating up. It's just -- I hope he keeps going, because eventually, he will croak. Like I said, eventually, he will choke to death on his own throat fat."
The fake-TV-news goons of Comedy Central also spoil the image of liberal charity. On "The Daily Show" on April 1, unfunny fake-anchorman Jon Stewart screamed about Limbaugh finally selling his property in New York, complaining that Rush had been such a burden to the city: "We knew he was into drugs, so we cleaned up Times Square. We even opened up a Disney Store in the very place he would normally go to buy drugs." Stewart even claimed, "We outlawed murder, figuring he was a guy with a taste for it."
There are people who want talk radio to be raucous and aggressive, to scorn all the false and forced parliamentary niceties of Washington. Let us be honest: Sometimes conservative talk radio goes too far. But never will you hear a credible conservative talk show host -- say, Rush, or Hannity, or Levin or Ingraham -- resort to this sort of ugliness.
They don't have to. They just call liberals liberals and laugh, while those liberals explode with outrage.